Ninety-five guests were seen at a wedding reception at Giorgio’s Catering in Baiting Hollow, New York State officials said — nearly twice the legal limit under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 pandemic-related executive orders.
Because of the alleged violation of social gatherings, the wedding venue’s liquor license was suspended on Saturday, September 26, Cuomo announced on Tuesday. It was among 15 other establishments to suffer the suspension due to “egregious violations of pandemic related executive orders” that state officials said put the public’s health and safety at risk. To date, 217 liquor licenses have been suspended.
The state’s multi-agency task force observed 95 patrons at the reception at the Fox Hill Drive banquet facility on Friday, September 25, according to a statement from Cuomo’s office. “Half of the patrons were observed standing and mingling inside the premises, while the other half were outside on a deck, standing, socializing, and drinking — most without facial coverings,” the statement said. No more than 50 people are allowed to gather under the governors orders.
Giorgio’s is a waterfront, family-run catering facility that specializes in weddings. Giorgio’s has been advertising a new “micro wedding” package. “In this time of uncertainty we all need to make the best of the circumstances we find ourselves in. These packages are limited to 50 guests for the time being,” the advertisement on its website said. “Experience everything Giorgio’s Baiting Hollow has to offer and let us help you create your dream wedding.”
The liquor license is held by George Regini and Nicholas Cascio, according to online State Liquor Authority records.
Over the last week, the State Police and SLA have led the task force to conduct 8,634 compliance checks, state officials said. Violations were documented at 40 establishments. Businesses found in violation of COVID-19 regulations face fines up to $10,000 per violation, but the most egregious violations can result in the immediate suspension a liquor license.
The SLA issued emergency orders of summary suspension to 16 establishments. Two were located in Suffolk County, one being Giorgio’s and the other being Patio Italian Kitchen in Saint James. Two others were located in Nassau County, while others are in New York City, the Mid-Hudson and Capital regions.
“Our heightened enforcement efforts are clearly making a difference — leading to more compliance and fewer violations, which has always been the goal,” Cuomo said. “However, some business owners still believe these health and safety measures are optional, and we will not hesitate to hold those who recklessly put their fellow New Yorkers’ health and safety at risk accountable.”
Chairman Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan and Commissioner Greeley Ford ordered the suspensions at special meetings of the full board between September 19t and Sunday, September 27. Expeditated hearings on the suspensions will be held before an SLA administrative law judge.
Maximum penalties include the permanent revocation of the license and fines of up to $10,000 per violation.
“With the start of flu season upon us, colleges and schools opening, and localized coronavirus clusters in the state, we cannot take any chances — and we must continue to enforce the rules that helped us beat back this deadly virus,” Cuomo said.
A request for comment was not returned by Giorgio’s staff.